This Alien* puppet was originally made as part of my deep "deep sea diver / alien victim" Halloween costume, but it was so time-consuming that I considered it a worthwhile standalone project in its own right.
I have seen various chestburster props and costumes before, but I think this one is unique for being mobile and able to actually burst out of your chest (or anywhere else you're willing to conceal your arm) rather than being permanently mounted in one position. And it freaks the heck out of cats, which is nice.
In this Instructable, I'll be illustrating some general principles that can be used for making all sorts of latex model, particularly puppets; I hope that it will be useful for anyone interested in experimenting with latex mouding.
To make your Alien, you're going to need a few things:
- Plasticine. Lots of it. More than enough to cover your whole forearm.
- A couple of plastic bottles roughly the width of your forearm or slightly smaller.
- Thin but stiff card, e.g. from a cereal box.
- Sticky tape.
- A few kilos of plaster. I recommend using specialist hard modelling plaster or resin plaster from an art supply shop for at least a kilo of this, but the rest can be generic plaster of Paris.
- Cotton stockinette or similar mesh-like material. You can use ready-made plaster of Paris bandages for this, if you happen to have them.
- Liquid moulding latex (about 2 litres).
- Baby powder or talcum powder.
- Paint. Latex paints if you want the paint job to last or watercolours if you don't mind repainting it each time you use it.
- Tools for sculpting. You don't need anything fancy, just something pointy and something slicy. Maybe something slightly rounded and blobby if you like.
- Old toothbrush.
- Paintbrush and/or airbrush
- Newspapers or plastic sheets to cover your work area. You will get messy. You'll also be producing quite a lot of unpleasant latex fumes, so it's best to work in a well-ventilated area where the smell won't bother anyone else.
Got everything you need? Splendid. The plan is to make your Alien out of plasticine first, cast a negative mould in plaster, then use that to cast the final latex puppet. OK? Let's get sculpting your little monstrosity.
Recommended listening: You've got a friend in me or I've got you under my skin.
*I'll continue to capitalise this word to distinguish it from other aliens which aren't based on the wonderful creations of H. R. Giger for the Alien film franchise. I'll also continue to spell lots of words in a slightly peculiar way because I'm British. Sorry.
Step 1: Begin sculpting
Fill the two plastic bottles with water and make sure they're sealed tightly. Having the bottles full gives them some ballast and makes them a lot easier to work with. Wrap a layer of plasticine around each bottle to make a tube. Don't remove the bottles.
In the image below, I've already sculpted some basic skin texture and body segments onto one of the the plasticine tubes. This will eventually form the lower body of the Alien. You don't have to do this yet if you'd rather get on with sculpting the fun bits.